Lately I've been on a Lillet (Blond) kick. I've been using it for quite some time in a martini-like drink with mandarin-flavored vodka (Absolut Mandarin is good; Hangar One Madarin Blossom is sublime). Having run out of the Hangar One, I cast around for other ideas and stumbled across the Vesper from Paul Harrington's book (half gin/half vodka plus a splash of the Lillet). Very nice drink.
Tell me a little more about this cocktail with the mandarin vodka and the Liellet Blanc. What ratios are you using? You say it's like a martini. Does that mean mandarin vodka instead of gin and the Lillet (a small amount) instead of the white/dry vermouth? Or is there a different ratio? (maybe more Lilltet). Is there anything else??
Jeff, I'm sorry I didn't see this before now. At the time I wrote that (Jeez -- almost 5 years ago!) I'd recently tried a drink at a local bar that was a variation on the Vesper -- with Absolut Mandarin substituted for the regular vodka. Then someone gave me a bottle of the Hangar One Mandarin Blossom, so I was playing around with it. But I haven't made it since. As I recall, I used about a 3:1 mandarin vodka to Lillet ratio, and probably added some orange bitters, if I had them back then.
However, I got a bunch of tangerines and have been making a gin-based drink that's similar. A friend named it the Tableau, which seems right to me, so that's what I'm calling it.
2 oz. gin
1 oz. Lillet
.25 oz. fresh tangerine juice
dash orange bitters